Tort Reform: Advantages and Disadvantages

Tort reform refers to a recommended modification to the (civil) justice system. The term tort refers to a civil wrong (such as fraud or negligence) that caused harm or loss.

According to those who favor tort reform, it serves to alleviate certain issues in personal injury law and other like tort cases. These issues include courts being overrun by these sorts of cases, suits that have been brought late after the grievance to understand the facts, and juries awarding enormous quantities in restitution to plaintiffs.

The proposed resolutions in tort reform vary. Most concentrate on either restricting tort lawsuits or restricting the sum of restitution available. Other common debates in regard to tort reform include the limitation and restriction of responsibilities instead of giving rise to them. There are, however, numerous tort reform disadvantages to consider. The following list some of the most common tort reform advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Tort Reform

  • Tort reform sets restrictions on the punitive prices of civil liability

The central idea here is that the American justice system’s main concern is to make people whole, not to be exploited for financial gain. The majority of the tort reform suggestions mention that the central objective is to restrict the sum of punitive damages, which could be given to people as a method of preventing making a profit through the (civil) justice system.

  • Tort reform upholds a victim’s capability to file a lawsuit to recover the damages lost

Tort reform does not attempt to restrict a person’s capacity to be made whole and recover the damages he or she lost. It does not intercept lawsuits from being filed. It does, however, require a person to provide his or her standing to justify his or her stated position within the suit. Tort reform seeks to regulate “frivolous” suits by defining the qualifications of a person’s standing in a suit. Once this has been established, the case can continue.

  • Tort reform allows jurors to concentrate on the case at hand instead of the punitive damages being asked for

Tort reform proponents argue that a righteous jury should only decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant involved in a tort case. A jury shouldn’t be used to decide a particular compensation sum. By setting limits to the total sum of punitive damages, the concentrations will ultimately shift back to the actions and faults of the defendant.

Disadvantages of Tort Reform

  • Tort reform changes liability organization for companies

The ultimate goal of having limitless punitive damages is to regulate the actions of individuals or businesses in relation to their overall liability. It is vital to keep in mind that not all corporations will act and work ethically. In some cases, it’s cheaper for them to settle claims with individuals than it is to enact safer, more ethical (and more expensive) policies. By limiting punitive damages, this will certainly encourage companies to maximize profits with little to no regard to social ethics.

  • Tort reform could end up creating more damages and grievances

With applied tort reforms, many people could discover his or herself victimized by a company’s quest toward earning greater profits. By setting restrictions on punitive-type damages, dishonest businesses or individuals could continue to operate unethically. These unethical entities can cause damage and destruction to countless victims. The only consequence these unscrupulous entities will face is paying the cost of making the victim whole again. Legally, this may seem as if justice was served. To a victim, however, this may seem far from justice.

  • Tort reform delays a victim’s compensation

Individuals who have faced harm have immediate monetary obligations. These monetary obligations could include but are not limited to living expenses, medical expenses, mortgage payments, and other basic necessities. Tort reform has the potential to delay cases. This means it takes longer for the victim to receive much-needed restitution.

  • Tort reform could impede a lawsuit before it has the opportunity to begin

Unfortunately, there are many tort reform suggestions that include a term known as a Good Samaritan Clause. This clause can protect health care providers and even individuals from being sued. The Good Samaritan Clause can protect these entities even if an error caused serious harm. This clause commonly limits the liability of those who are providing emergency care. Unfortunately, when a person seeks medical assistance, errors could be made which can cause him or her additional injuries.

Tort Reform: The Bottom Line

Tort reform advantages and disadvantages can limit the responsibilities of individuals and corporations, which could affect the overall costs for many services. More tort reform could hurt more victims, as well as limit the victim’s ability to be made whole. The ultimate purpose of the United States justice system is to create fairness, so all could be made whole if need be. Ultimately, tort reform may make things worse for those who have been wronged. It can severely impact their opportunity to seek justice and restitution for the damages they received.